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Tue Oct 15, 2019, 04:00 PM

Are Democrats missing an opportunity against Trump? One is sounding the alarm.

As the Democratic presidential candidates prepare to debate in Ohio, President Trump is gearing up to spend enormous sums of money in the battleground states, much of it on hammering Joe Biden over the fabricated narrative that Trump and his propagandists have been pushing.

Trump’s lopsided focus on Biden has generated a kind of mini-debate over whether certain institutions in the Democratic Party, such as party committees and outside groups, should be doing more to push back against Trump’s attacks. But precisely because they’re supposed to remain neutral during primaries, defending Biden is not an easy role for them to adopt.

But here’s the upshot of this in the real world: Trump is largely dominating the field in the battleground states when it comes to spending right now. And an opportunity may be passing by to deliver Trump some debilitating blows at a moment of uncommon vulnerability, as new revelations tumble out daily and impeachment gains public support.


There is some ad spending coming from groups like Tom Steyer’s Need to Impeach, the Daily Beast reported, but groups like Priorities USA -- the hulk of Democratic Super PACs -- don’t want to expend huge resources responding directly to Trump’s latest broadsides, to preserve resources for later, which they hope to focus on Trump’s failures on kitchen table issues.

Exacerbating this situation is Trump’s willingness to traffic in rank disinformation and propaganda. For instance, Trump’s ad attacking Biden claims Biden tried to remove a prosecutor targeting his son (a lie) and insisting that Democrats want to impeach him merely because he opposed “corruption” in Ukraine (also a lie).

This is creating a massive disinformation asymmetry. “There’s no one really pushing back on that in any way through paid communications right now,” Martin told me. “And that’s a real challenge.”


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